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Major scientists BUST on Black Box Voting - New York Times pickup [View All]

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BevHarris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-03 11:15 PM
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Major scientists BUST on Black Box Voting - New York Times pickup
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Edited on Wed Jul-23-03 11:45 PM by BevHarris
Note: I am not seeing this on the NYT site, though my email said they'll be running a story. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Dammit, I hope they get that story up; either way, it's getting covered. I'll fill you in on who picks up tomorrow.

Ah...I believe I mentioned that the bigs are doing independent corroboration -- is Johns Hopkins University analysis of the ftp site good enough?

Biggest print news outlets include:
Wall Street Journal
Washington Post
LA Times
Time mag
Newsweek mag

I'm not supposed to specify who I'm interviewing with, but so far, five of the above, with multiple contacts from three of them.

There's more to come, expect it to get worse. Excerpt from Johns Hopkins paper --

"Indeed, source code that appears to correspond to a version of Diebolds voting system appeared recently on the Internet. This appearance, announced by Bev Harris and discussed in her book, Black Box Voting, gives us a unique opportunity to analyze a widely used, paperless DRE system and evaluate the manufacturers security claims."

"This unique opportunity for independent scientific analysis of voting system source code demonstrates the fallacy of the closed-source argument for such a critical system. Our analysis shows that this voting system is far below even the most minimal security standards applicable in other contexts.

We highlight several issues including unauthorized privilege escalation, incorrect use of cryptography, vulnerabilities to network threats, and poor software development processes. For example, common voters, without any insider privileges, can cast unlimited votes without being detected by any mechanisms within the voting terminal.

"Furthermore, we show that even the most serious of our outsider attacks could have been discovered without the source code. In the face of such attacks, the usual worries about insider threats are not the only concerns; outsiders can do the damage. That said, we demonstrate that the insider threat is also quite considerable. We conclude that, as a society, we must carefully consider the risks inherent in electronic voting, as it places our very democracy at risk."


"Analysis of an Electronic Voting System" by Tadayoshi Kohno, Adam Stubblefield, Aviel D. Rubin and Dan Wallach (the first three at Johns Hopkins University and the latter at Rice). You can find the paper at

It is my understanding that there will be a related article in the New York Times.

According to the e-mail I received from another top-ranked expert, this is what his take on it is:

The paper does a serious, professional security analysis of the DRE code that purportedly was downloaded from the Diebold FTP site earlier this year. In moderate tones, it is a devastating critique of the security provisions in that code (or lack thereof), documented by quotes from that code.

This paper is essential reading for anyone interested in voting technology and security. It should have great weight in the debate over voter verification and open source.

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